4 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe While Exploring Canmore and Kananaskis
- WildSmart - June 21, 2021
Some of the best experiences you can have in the mountains can be hiking with your pets. It’s important to think ahead so that your memories are of spectacular views and not an extra trip to the vet.
So what do you need to know about keeping your pet safe whilst adventuring in the mountains?
Taking your pooch somewhere new might not be a big deal to you but it might be a big deal for them. Start off with some shorter car trips, and smaller hikes closer to home. Build up their fitness (and your own) by doing progressively longer adventures.
When picking the right trails for your dog’s skill level, consider distance, elevation, and also the weather! Remember to bring extra water and snacks for your dog as they are going to be working hard too. It’s good to know if the trail has shade to cool off in or scree (small sharp rocks) that may hurt your pup’s paws.
Dogs are allowed on trails as long as they’re on a leash (2m or less). This is important, not only because you could get a fine, but also to keep wildlife safe, and you safe from wildlife. Off-leash dogs can disturb wildlife like grouse, or agitate bigger animals like bears, coyotes, elk or deer. Any one of these could then chase your dog right back to you! That’s not the kind of fetch you were hoping for!
Always carry bear spray with you, and keep it easily accessible. It might be good to think through or even practice how you might get your bear spray out whilst holding on to Fido’s leash!
Here’s a refresher on how to use bear spray, which can be bought or rented at Trail Sports and many other businesses in the area.
Check for any trail closures and avoid these areas. The Bear Report will let you know where any spots to avoid are, what bears might be eating at different times of the year, as well as when it’s best to give other animals a wider berth (like elk during calving or their rut!).
Put all that training to good use!
Practice excellent trail etiquette when out hiking with your dog. This means staying in control of your pup at all times, especially when you’re passing other hikers and dogs. We know it’s strange but not everyone loves dogs coming up to them!
Step off of the trail as you yield to people, bikes, and horses. There are lots of dog lovers around Canmore, but unfortunately not all the dogs are lovely, get into the habit of asking other pet owners if their dog plays nice. Consider getting a harness, which might be more comfortable for your pup on those longer days.
Remember – there is no such thing as a dog poop fairy! Always carry it out with you and dispose of it in a garbage bin. There is no point putting it in a bag and leaving it on the side of the trail, inevitably you’ll forget on the way back! Consider bringing a smell-proof bag or container to make this easier for yourself.
When you get back to your car or your home, be sure to check your dog for ticks. These nasty bloodsuckers are bad news and whilst rare around here, can carry disease.
Pamper your pooch a little – clean the dirt and mud off of your dog’s paws before they sit down on the upholstery, and if they’re still damp after a post-hike swim, grab your dog towel and dry them off.
We always love to see well-behaved pups on the trails in Canmore and Kananaskis. Share your photos with us to encourage others to do the same by tagging us or using #ExploreCanmore.
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